Buttons! Buttons! Everywhere!

Buttons! Buttons! Everywhere!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas to all!

Well, folks, it has been a very busy year for me. Two moves, a European vacation and a new home.  But you know what? Nothing matters today, except for Christ. This is a day to pause and let the whole world go by, a day to remember the diety of a Savior who was born of a virgin on the day we commemorate as Christmas. Because of this day, and the sacrifice of this one man, I will see heaven one day.

So for me, I am letting everything go and giving my mind to The Lord. Merry Christmas my friends and may God bless each and every one of you in the New Year! I promise to be a lot more attentive to the blog in 2014!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

A New Contest for My Readers!!!

Hey My Friends!
 I'm giving away a Kindle Fire 7" HD and $200 in Amazon Gift Cards during the dates of Oct. 15 - 31. There is absolutely NO purchase necessary. Just go to The Kindle Book Review or Digital Book Today and register. It's really easy. Maybe you'll get some early Christmas shopping done! How's that for awesome! Tell your friends too!!!!

Go here to win ~> http://ow.ly/pP65U

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Maybe Next Time!

The winners for the 2013 Kindle Book Awards were just announced and although I was a finalist, the winner wasn't me. I thought I might be disappointed, but I wasn't. I read the results and instead bowed my head to thank a precious God who allowed me even to be in the top five after thousands of entries were turned away.

My goal with Run, River currents was always to glorify God. I knew it would be God and God alone who would take my writing any place He felt it should go. I still believe that. Then I though of all of the wonderful things happening right now in my life. A move to be closer to my precious family. A big vacation. More writing. Good health. I am so blessed.

So, maybe next time one of my works will be a winner. Until then, I am still blessed......undeservedly.

As a side note, TODAY you can download THE BUTTON LEGACY free of charge!!!! Run out and tell your friends and have a great day!!!

Friday, September 20, 2013

When Going "Home" is Enough

   I was thrilled to get to spend a little time in Plaster Rock, New Brunswick, Canada recently. I had been invited by the Public Library to visit and speak about my work. To say that I was nervous was an understatement. Both of my books were set in Plaster Rock. Most citizens were well acquainted with many of the characters, and none knew the real story. I tried to fictionalize the best I could, but truth is truth and Run, River Currents was more faction, than fiction.

I was worried about people judging my family, worried that they might be coming for gossip, as this was the birthplace of my colorful mother. My sister Sue, accompanied me, rekindling a relationship we both had longed for. We stayed in the home of my favorite aunt who had recently passed. My cousin, Paul and his darling wife, Sissy made us feel like the happy-go-lucky kids again. It is a feeling I will not soon forget.

The day of the program, Sue and I locked arms and walked the streets of this precious village, waving at strangers and searching for memories from our childhood. When the rain arrived, we still walked, ducking in and out of the few retail stores in town. Everyone had heard we were coming and anticipation for the evening program began to fill the air.

The warm welcome we received by the library staff signaled the joy that would fill the night. Greeting the arriving attendees, Sue and I were overwhelmed with the graciousness of everyone. Those special people in that special place calmed me and covered the room with a gentleness that arrived unexpectedly.

I told my story. The once anxious faces relaxed and smiles beamed back at me, as the audience came to see my love for their home. When the evening was over, I was overcome by the new friendships and old memories that filled the room. I signed and sold every book I had!

Many thanks to the people of Plaster Rock and to the Public Library for the tender welcome. You made me feel like a queen!

I was home and safe in the arms of these welcoming people. Plaster Rock can be sure that it will show up in another book in the future, as there is no place like home!!!

Monday, September 9, 2013

New Blog Post Up Today!


As a finalist in the Kindle Indie Book of the Year, I got to write a playful "dream review" for a very popular blog, Venture Gallery. Caleb  Pirtle was my gracious host. I hope you enjoy it! Click on the link above!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Fort Fairfield, Maine...A Writer's Group

I have been doing a bit of traveling the past six weeks for the books. This was a special journey for me, as I was returning to a few of the places that carried some great memories for me. The first stop was  Fort Fairfield, Maine, my birthplace. The first scheduled stop was to talk to a group of writers at a wonderful old Carnegie library.

The librarian was the wonderful! Sharon Nadeau welcomed my sister and I with open arms. She and her staff provided refreshments and such a beautiful place to work with other writers. I could not have asked for a more gracious group of women who eagerly listened, asked questions and made me feel like a million bucks!

Along with this terrific visit was the opportunity to stay with an aunt who means more to me than the sporadic contact I have kept with her can indicate. We spent time remembering long-passed loved ones and rummaged through old pictures that made me laugh. To make this journey even more memorable, I got to spend a lot of time with my older sister, something we haven't done since we were very young.

Enjoy the photos! There will be more to come as we moved along. The connection to the book, Run, River Currents was the fact that Richard Street, the street mentioned in Emily's youth was actually a real street we lived on in Maine!  A wonderful surprise that happened at the library was that one of the writer's who attended my seminar was my oldest sister's dear friend during the time we lived on Richard Street! It was a great time and I'm indebted to Fort Fairfield for having me visit!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

God's Continuing Grace

I woke up this morning, stretched and then showered for church. As I opened my Bible for  my morning devotions, my IPad dinged the alarm that a message was waiting. I read my readings and then popped open my IPad to search new emails as I do most mornings.

My eyes glazed over the first few messages, my coffee cup clutched in one hand. It was the. I saw the 2013 Kindle Book Review heading.  "Your book, Run, River Currents has been named a finalist in the 2013 Awards."  Sometimes, words on a page don't evoke the excitement of being named a FINALIST in a contest. I was shaking so much I almost dropped my coffee!!!!!

The amazement comes, not so much from being named one of five finalists, but in watching God move. Here is this dark book that neither the Christian Market, nor the secular market wanted. Then a secular Indie publisher who "just happened" to have a wonderful Christian editor who believed in this book enough to take it on as a project. In the wake of this book, the secular Indie publisher created a Christian imprint called Vox Dei, or voice of God which now is another outlet for good Christian books. Run, River Currents was awarded the 2012 ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writer's) semi-finalist Genesis Award, and was an Honorable Mention in The New England Book Festival, now a FINALIST in the Kindle Awards!

May all glory go to God, as His hand was on me as I told this story and He is taking it where He will take it.  What a great start to a day!

Friday, August 2, 2013

Plaster Rock Bound! You Can Go Home Again!

For those not familiar with the main setting of Run, River Currents,the home town of my real grandparents, John and Ellen, was Plaster Rock, New Brunswick, Canada. I am on my way there to do a book signing and a speaking engagement. Nothing could excite me more than to be returning "home."

Although I was born in Fort Fairfield, Maine, a delightful small down on the Candian border, it was Plaster Rock that always felt like my "safe" place. It was where my grandparents quietly revealed the love of Christ to me via the silent witness they did. My grandfather often prayed at the foot of our beds on the wee hours of the night. I can remember him sitting by the lace covered windows of their tiny house, an open Bible in his lap. It is a memory forever etched in my mind.

As a writer, it was that "sense of place" that was revealed in Run, River Currents. For new writers, I suggest that they use the remembered places of their youth to move the reader. I have had so many people ask me if The Tobique River was real, because they "felt" it was real. Yes, it was and I am so pleased that my memories moved so many others.

Now I get to return to that special place and to those special people that made the precious memories I still retain. I'll keep you posted as to my antics over the next couple of weeks. I know I'll be enjoying very minute of it!

Friday, July 12, 2013

An Interview with the Amazing Sara Pritchard

Every once in a while you come across a special person who influences you far beyond what you'd expect. Award-winning author, Sara Pritchard, is one of those people in my life. I've had the chance to hear her read some of her wonderful works. I’ve been blessed to call her a friend. She's quirky and has a tender heart and she makes me smile whenever I think of her. She's a quiet and gentle soul who enjoys her privacy, but I'm delighted that she has agreed to share a bit of her writing life with us.  Her first two novels Crackpots and Lately have been well received and garnished some pretty important awards. Her newest book, Help Wanted: Female is yet, another winner! Readers please note that some language in Help Wanted:Female may not be appropriate for everyone. I hope you'll enjoy your time with us!

Hello Sara and welcome to Novel Travelers! I'm excited to have you join me today. Thank you for taking a bit of time out of your busy day to talk with me.  I wanted to let my readers know what a motivator you are to new writers, so let's get started.  Tell us a little bit about yourself and your writing style.

It’s nice to speak with you again. I was born in Northeastern Pennsylvania, the Wilkes-Barre/Kingston area, where my father’s family is from. They emigrated from Wales to work in the anthracite mines in America. I lived in Hazleton, Pennsylvania, until I was ten. A big part of my heart is still in that region. All my people are buried there, and I often dream I’m still in Hazleton, a little girl with pigtails, looking out her bedroom window. I’ve lived in West Virginia now for nigh on thirty years, and I love Appalachia, too—the mountains, the music. I lived on Ocracoke Island, North Carolina, too, for eight years. What a beautiful place.

Hmmm. My writing style. That’s a tough one. Well, I write stories, exclusively. I’ve never had a big idea in my life, but I’ve had plenty of small ideas—glimpses and flashes that I can turn into stories. I’m basically a thief and not very creative when it comes to narrative. I’ve stolen many an anecdote from friends, repeated stories I’ve heard, and drawn from—embellished and reimagined—scenes from my own life, trying always, it seems, to reveal something about the absurdities and injustices of life, along with little moments of grace. All my stories have kind of a Russian nesting doll structure—stories hiding within stories—and I digress a lot. Oh, and lots of white space. Vignettes. This structure seems natural to me—a little of this, a little of that, lots of room for the reader to imagine the left-out parts. I think maybe I have some kind of attention deficit disorder. It’s the only way I can think and put things together. In pieces. Like quilting, I guess. Discovering patterns. Working with images. Fitting things together in different ways. I never have a complete story in my head. Just little dreams of scenes, but the secret is that I trust that somehow everything will fit, that a story arc will rise up out of the mist. Or, it’s sort of like shaking a kaleidoscope. No matter how you tip or turn it, a pattern emerges. Basically, it’s all magic. And faith. 

Faith drives my writing as well.  And your vignettes draw the reader in and make them feel the emotions your characters feel. That shows the talents of a gifted writer. Was there a magic moment when you knew you were going to be a writer?

Hmmm. More magic! There wasn’t really a moment when I knew I was going to be a writer, but I have a very distinct memory of thinking I could maybe write something. This must have been in the early eighties. I would have been in my early thirties, living on Ocracoke Island, North Carolina. I’d graduated from college with a degree in English and I’d spent two years in graduate school at West Virginia University, working on an MA in English, and I was . . . yes . . . waitressing! I was in love with writers like D.H. Lawrence, James Joyce, Hemingway, Steinbeck, Thomas Wolfe, Vonnegut, John Irving. You know, THE BIG GUYS. I’d spent all these years reading literature, and I probably could have counted on one hand the female authors I’d read. Well, Willa Cather was one. My Ántonia is still one of my favorite novels. I’ve probably read that book ten times over the past forty years. But then, somehow, out on that island, I discovered early Margaret Atwood (The Edible Woman, Lady Oracle), and the Virago Modern Classics and the Feminist Press, which were publishing/reissuing all these books by WOMEN! Praise the Lord!             

One day, from my friend Sandy on Ocracoke, I came across a book called Our Spoons Came from Woolworth’s by Barbara Comyns, a British author. It was first published in 1951 and reissued by Virago in the early eighties. I was in the sand dunes, alone, wearing a one-piece plaid Jantzen bathing suit from the fifties and lying on an old linen tablecloth with apples silk-screened on it. I opened that book and read the first couple of paragraphs and something happened. Something clicked. I heard this voice—a first-person narrative—a young woman’s voice—so matter-of-fact and intimate that I felt as if the author were right there, talking to me. I’d never read anything like it. I recognized the voice as my own maybe, and I know I said out loud right there to the sky and the sea, OHMYGAWD, I CAN WRITE! 

But I didn’t. I waited a long time. A decade at least until I started to try to write. But what I discovered that day was that my own voice could be a perfectly acceptable narrative voice, unlike the voices of the literary, primarily male, writers I so admired.     

So many writers don't start writing until later in life.  I am one of them.  Sometimes we need more life experiences or maybe more wisdom to tell our stories. What’s been your latest project and what inspired the story?

Well . . . my latest project has been my new collection of short stories, Help Wanted: Female, published this month (July 2013) by Etruscan Press. I love the cover! An original painting by Caroline Jennings of a woman walking two dogs. The ten stories in the collection I’ve worked on for about six years—writing, revising, tweaking, throwing out. The stories are inspired from, mostly, a sense of place; that is, what I see out my window, what I observe when I’m out walking my dogs, interesting people who have crossed my path in the past forty years, places I’ve worked, personal experience—all whipped together into fiction.

Which brings me to the great cover of Help Wanted: Female.  It obviously depicts the everyday woman out walking her dogs. She looks like a lady I pass everyday when I walk around my neighborhood. She is a character!  She talks incessantly to her two poodles as they tug her along. Who makes a good character for your novels? Do they have specific traits?

Ordinary people are the best characters because nobody is really ordinary. Everyone is full of secrets and dreams, heartaches and failures, guilt and pain, moments of joy and comfort and compassion. I guess I kind of prefer older characters, ones with a lot of history (backstory) and a deep sense of the mystery of just being alive, how very weird life is. In her book Family Linen, Lee Smith says, “Life is long and weird and sooner or later, something about it will make you crazy.” I think that’s true.

I must say I have to be in agreement with that statement.  But books have changed me. They have taken me places I didn't know existed and have allowed me to dream. There have been books that have stirred me, comforted me and given me hope. What books have changed your life in a significant way?

Well, definitely the Barbara Comyns book I mentioned. Also, all of Alice Munro, especially The Lives of Girls and Women, The Beggar Maid, and The View from Castle Rock. I especially admire the latter—the way Munro begins with public history and genealogy and then moves seamlessly into pure fiction and story, weaving the two genres together into a glorious tapestry. It’s so brilliant. And I just this week read the complete stories of Alistair MacLeod, Island, who has become my male counterpart of Alice Munro. Gosh, another Canadian. The haunting landscape of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, which he describes—I was transported. His story “In the Fall” ripped open the seams of my heart. I’m going to write him a letter. It will begin: “Dear Alistair MacLeod, Where have you been my whole life?  . . .”

It is the Maritime Provinces that centered my first novel, Run River Currents.  That area in Canada has a special place in my heart.  It's funny how sense of place, unusual characters and the writer's voice can move the reader. From the feedback you’ve received about your own novels, which book has affected your readers the most? Why do you think that is?

I received a lot of positive feedback about Crackpots (2003, novel in stories). I’m sure one reason is because it was a prize book and a New York Times Notable Book of the Year and it was marketed well (I was truly a nobody), but another reason, I think, is because it’s a baby boomer book. There are a lot of cultural references to the fifties, sixties, and seventies, and it speaks to women who, like me, grew up then, married young and divorced, entered the American workforce and sort of floated about, trying to find a place in that limbo between the traditional female role of the fifties (housewife, mother) and the “liberated” (ha ha ha) woman of today. Actually . . . my new story collection Help Wanted: Female sort of takes up where Crackpots left off.

I love when readers relate to a writer's work. I've enjoyed your readings and the way your audience reacts to your work with such varied emotions. You always leave us wanting more.  So knowing that, what is your next project?

Well, right now, I’m just exhausted. I haven’t thought much about writing. I’m still reeling from reading Alistair MacLeod.

I understand the exhaustion of completing a work and I know you also work as a mentor and instructor to other writers.  Giving so much of yourself must reward you with moments of both exhasperation and joy.  But what has been your biggest moment as a writer?

Big? Well, I guess winning the Bakeless Prize for Fiction in 2003 for Crackpots. That’s what really got the ball rolling. My suggestion to all you writers who have complete manuscripts is to submit them to book prize contests. If you win one, well then, it’s like you do pass go and you do collect $200. You just jump ahead to the publisher, without all that searching for an agent. The whole JOB of publishing is just soooo tiring. But this is an exciting time for publishing. There’s been a sea change in the industry, which for so many years was very closed and dominated by big name authors and powerful agents, editors, and reviewers. But today there are so many wonderful small presses—like Etruscan. And self-publishing and co-op publishing are top rate. You just have to know how to go about it, find the perfect fit.

I agree with you Sara! Etruscan Press is a gem of a small press and has published some extraordinary books. I hear the Executive Director of Etruscan, Phil Brady,  is a  fabulous orator and poet himself.  You have surrounded yourself with an eclectic and talented group of people!  Well,  I'm sad to say our time is up, Sara. Anything more you’d like your readers to know about you  before we say goodbye? And where can we find your new book?

I think I’ve said enough! Thank you and your readers for spending a little time with me today. I've had a great time. Oh! Help Wanted:Female is available from Etruscan Press or you can find it at an independently owned bookstore close to you by going to Indie Bound.  And, you can buy it online through amazon.com or Barnes & Noble.
Thank you Sara, for joining us today! We will be watching for more of your work in the future! 
 Friends, be sure and visit Sara's site at www.sarapritchard.com or stop by her Facebook page and tell her you read her interview here. Have a great day!

Run River Currents is #1 in Amazon Books Today!

Wow! What a wake-up today! God has blessed me with a fantastic Marketing Manger who through hard work has driven Run, River Currents to the #1 spot in Amazon in the Christiantity Books, #1 in Religious Fiction and Inspirational and #196 overall in Amazons paid books! That is a HUGE feat!

Please share with your friends and tweet away! Your assistance is so appreciated! Thanks to Lori Higham and so many wonderful others who continue to support us! Mostly, thanks be to a Holy God who will do with these books what HE will!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

New Interview Coming Tomorrow!

I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Sara Pritchard, author of new release, Help Wanted:Female. Watch for the interview tomorrow!

Also, Run, River Currents will be running a special for .99 cents today and tomorrow promoted by Bookbub. As a compliment to that special, The Button Legacy will be free!! 

Saturday, July 6, 2013

A Writer is Never Alone

There are times a writer feels they are all alone in their quest to create a story that will entertain others. I've been feeling that lately. Family obligations and work responsibilities tear at me, pulling me in a hoard of directions.  When this happens, I find that I don't spend enough time stopping to just praise The Lord. I rush through my scripture reading and my devotions and my prayers become half-hearted before a Holy and loving God. Funny thing is, I never accomplish a whole lot and the time I have seems less than on the days I give Him more praise. 

On these days, I picture God sitting on His golden throne, shaking his head and his finger at me in the same loving way I do with my grandson. "No, no, no!" I see Him saying, His eyes shining brightly, yet sadly, Him knowing that if I would just listen to Him, just open His Word, I would find peace from the rat race I am running from. To top it all off, during these times I never seem to actually put pen to paper.

 It is then that I hear the stillness in His voice letting me know I am not alone, that He is still there prodding me to put Him first, before my pen is put to paper. This happened not long ago....again. When I remembered to stop and put Him first, my writing improved and wonderful things started to happen. Not things that others might understand or think are very important, but personal things that needed improvement in my life. 

Now I have a big note on my writing desk. It says, "THY will be done." It's my gentle reminder that "He" is more important than "me." It becomes easy once again to write my stories, because I know I am not alone. 

Then for no good reason, my Savior encourages me again. I get an email from Kindle saying that Run, River Currents is a semi-finalist in the 2013 Kindle Indie Awards! I am amazed, but I know that He must be shaking his head once again wondering how long it is going to take me to realize that He withholds nothing from His children. 

I expect nothing and deserve nothing before this Holy God, but today, Even as I am feeling tired and a bit worn out from chasing my precious grand-baby, I am very, very grateful that my God stands beside me, and I no longer feel alone.

And for news this week, Monday to be exact, Run, River Currents and the Button Legacy will have one more day of each book being .99 cents! Tell your friends and if you read them, please write a review. Authors really appreciate feedback! Have a great week!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Great Time to Read The Button Legacy!

Tell your friends and neighbors that today and tomorrow,   both Run, River Currents and The Button Legacy are available for .99!  Doesn't get any better than that!

Thanks to all of you for sharing with your friends!

Also, the new Book Fun Magazine is out at Http://www.bookfunmagazine.com/i/141120/119 

Click on the cover and page through to read my latest article!

Have a wonderful Fourth of July!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Upcoming Author Interview with Sara Pritchard!

I got some good news today! Author, Sara Pritchard has agreed to do an interview with me in the near future. This wonderfully quirky woman has meant the world to me and she is about to release her third novel, Help Wanted: Female in July! Anyone who knows Ms. Pritchard also knows about her immense talent. She is  wise beyond her years and has been a mentor to so many up-and-coming authors.

Sara is the author of Crackpots, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year and the novel Lately. Her readings at various venues around the country are both hilarious and entertaining and show off her ability to create unique stories that draw the reader into a common world of uncommon characters .

Don't miss this chance to get to know Ms. Pitchard! Tell your friends to join us here. I'll be announcing the date shortly!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Button Legacy is Published!

I received delightful news that my novella, The Button Legacy is now published and available for .99 cents on Amazon and Barnes and Noble as an ebook! This story is one that ties back to my first novel  Run, River Currents.

It is the story of the faith and love told from the viewpoint  of Emily's grandfather, John Polk. He relays the stories of God's grace through old buttons contained in a tin box that sat on top of an oak hutch in the kitchen of his home.

I  would be delighted to hear from those who  had. read the very dark story of Run, River Currents, as this story is tender and full of hope. Thanks to all who have been so supportive! 

Monday, May 27, 2013

The Editing Process is in Full Swing!

So many exciting things going on! Let's put them in order of importance.

1. God really blessed me with the presence of my 17-month-old grandson for the past 3 weeks. I flew to Alaska, picked him up and had him all to myself until my son arrived. This baby could not be more precious. We laughed and played and talked, well, he talked:-) His favorite word is "bird."  Before he joined his mom and dad, I was able to teach him to "pray." When we sat down to eat, I'd say, "Jaxon, let's pray!" He'd clasp his little hands together and grin. He'd keep his eyes open, but he stayed very still as I prayed. How joyous a time we had! It broke my heart to have him leave, but I'll see him again soon!

2. My dear editor, Lori Higham, once again has my work in the editing process. The Button Legacy is on track for publishing as an e-book by July. I'm very excited, as this novella is an uplifting prequel, or you might say sequel to Run, River Currents.

3. The book cover, designed again by the talented Greg Simanson is beautiful and I am very proud of it.

4. I have been invited by the library of my hometown, Fort Fairfiled, Maine to present yet another program as I tour around New Brunswick, Canada in August. My older, and I always have to mention that, older, sister Sue and I will be doing the tour and I am so excited to spend some time with her while I am doing something I love!

I'll be giving a writing seminar in several places as well as reading from both of my works. I'll keep you informed and thank you for all of the wonderful support I have received!


Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Name Has Arrived!!

Just to keep you all up to date, the novella is beginning the editing process and plans are in place for publishing by early summer.

The Button Legacy is now the title. The novella, or short novel, will be told from John Polk's view. He was the grandfather of Emily Evans, the main character of Run, River Currents. This character is so real to me. John is, or should I say was, one of my greatest personal influences. He was a good Christian man who lived his life in a way that honored Christ and finally led me to the Lord.

The story is about the button box mentioned in Run, River Currents. It sat high on an old oak hutch in my grandparent's house. When it was pulled down, and any button pulled out of it, a story ensued. I hope this novella will be a tribute to the good experiences, among the very bad, I had as a child.

And in the end, the reader will come to see where Emily ends up in her own life, all because of The Button Legacy.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Any Thoughts on a Title?

It's been a bit since we last visited! I'm much more tan this week after spending several days in Grand Cayman with some very good friends. It's amazing how the sea air clears your thoughts!

Since getting back I have been at the keyboard punching out the last chapter of The Button Box. Hoping to complete it shortly. That said, writing never seems to be really done. You must write, then rewrite, then edit, then rewrite, then add words, then edit, then reorder, then edit, then proofread, before throwing it all to the wind!

This particular story is both a beginning and an end to Run, River Currents. The story is about a box of buttons and the stories attached to each button in the box. The button box was mentioned in passing a couple of times in Run, River Currents. The box and its stories were a great source of peace and joy for Emily, the main character. The story is told from the perspective of Emily's grandfather John, a strong Christian man. It is tender and full of hope, unlike the darkness that permeated Emily's life.

With all of that said, I'd like some input as to what the possible name of the novella might be? Send in your thoughts by May 10 and I'll share them with you all for a vote!


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Appearing Buttons!

It seems I am on to something. Just a day or two after requesting buttons from my readers, buttons and their related stories are appearing!  I am both touched and moved by the stories and hope in time, I will be able to share them with you!

With that said, I think it's time to share a little bit about the history of buttons.

They may have been in use as early as 3000 years ago during the Bronze Age and were often used more for decoration than for closures, being there were no button holes. Clothes were being held together with leather strips or belts and the buttons were worn like women's brooches.

Some say it was around 1200 B.C.  that a slit was invented, and with that the button became fashionable everywhere. Seems it was easier and less painful to use buttons once they figured out how to sew them on!

I am sure it was women who discovered the fact that buttons would not only hold the clothes they wore together, but that they could make a fashion statement as well! Today, spare buttons are attached to almost everything we buy.

Buttons have been made out of stone, bone, plastice, gold, silver and other precious stones, ivory, wood and even teeth! I have buttons that glitter and glow, as well as the normal dull black and white buttons. Whatever they are made of, I am certainly glad they are around. Otherwise, how would I have such a great story to tell?

Do you have a story you'd like to share about your favorite button? Come on, send me a memory!


Monday, March 18, 2013

A Giveaway, a Request....and News of The Button Box Story

I’m very excited to host a giveaway of RUN, RIVER CURRENTS in preparation for the upcoming launch of a little novella that will highlight some of the habits of Emily’s godly grandparents—some of the key people God ultimately used to later draw Emily to Himself. You have noted that while RUN, RIVER CURRENTS was written from the perspective that I had at the time, this novella will highlight the hope of godly grandparents whose eyes were much more fixed on the hope of what God could do in the lives of their loved ones regardless of the circumstances.
 In RUN, RIVER CURRENTS, I mentioned a button box as it is a key focus of the novella. I'd like to tell you a little more about it. Years ago, especially during World War II, people had to be frugal. They saved everything, and my grandparents were no different. Each piece of worn-out fabric was used to make quilts, every button saved for another use. My grandparents’ button box was a tin box, about 10 X 15 inches in size. The design once depicted a pasture scene, although the bright colors are now faded. When I was young, I remember it sitting high on an old oak hutch in the corner of their kitchen. I don’t remember when I really noticed it, but I do remember the times Gram or Gramp would bring it down. For a child, it was like a treasure hunt. The lid would open, and hundreds of buttons, all various sizes and shapes, were there to explore. I still see my grandfather’s face light up when I’d pull a button out and ask about it. Who knew how many lessons of grace would come from the stories told of those buttons.
Because I was so young at the time, I don’t really know how those buttons affected my grandparents, but because they were both godly people—not perfect mind you, but godly—I’d like to think that the buttons were constant reminders of those they had loved, lost, and prayed for. In my mind, I can still see the facial expressions of my grandparents when certain buttons were pulled from the tin…the joy, the bowed heads in thankfulness, the sadness. Not every button story was told; some memories were too painful or too personal to share. I would hear their prayers, the way they prayed for friends and family with deep, long prayers of thanksgiving and supplication. It was a lesson for me on how to pray for others.
In my own life, I have seen a strengthening in my prayer life. For many years, I just “went along” praying what I call “fluffy” prayers, asking God to “give me” what I needed, not understanding that my purpose in life is to worship Him. I believe that most Christians, including my grandparents, may have done the same thing in their youth. Then God strengthens us with trials, driving us to His Word where we learn to really trust and believe what He is telling us, teaching us to lean on Him. When we turn to God’s Word, we learn how He wants us to pray, when He wants us to pray, and for what purpose we are to pray. It is only then that we can learn to understand His will for us. Sometimes it takes years. Other times it takes little reminders, like the buttons in that box, to keep us focused on His will for us. I believe those buttons were small reminders to my grandparents about God’s loving hand on their lives.
Someone asked me if I have a button box or anything similar to it, and if so, would I reccommend that my readers have one. I do have one. In the past, I have kept my extra buttons in a small glass box, but recently I found a large tin box, larger than the one my grandparents had, that reminds me of their old one. I just dumped all of my buttons into it. I have a long way to go to fill it, but I must admit that just having it near, placed on the top of my own old oak hutch, is a daily reminder of the beauty of the lessons of those buttons, lessons I hope to share with my own grandson as he grows.
I think a symbol of God’s grace, as simple as a button box, is a wonderful reminder to pray for those in our lives. I have just begun to ask friends and family to send me buttons off any old clothing or item they have along with the buttons’ story. I think this will encourage me to pray for them. Sometimes we need to be reminded.
As for what ways this novella will tie in with Run, River Currents? Well, the story of the button box, yet unnamed, is the prequel to Run, River Currents, told from the viewpoint of John Polk, the main character’s grandfather in Run, River Currents. His viewpoint is that of a man who has learned that God has a plan for His children and that through fervent prayer and faithfulness to God’s Word, God will prevail. One of the last scenes in the button box story will speak of his granddaughter, Emily, and a lesson that he imparted to her about God’s grace that will eventually lead her to salvation. The story of the button box is uplifting and full of tender memories, while Run, River Currentsis dark and without hope until the end of the story. One story shows where the Christian life can be, even in the midst of trials, if he or she turns to God and accepts Jesus Christ’s saving sacrifice, while Run, River Currents shows the life and attitude of a lost person who has no hope. Both end with the joy of knowing God.
The work should be completed and published by early summer 2013.
So, for you readers, click on this link to enter a giveaway for Run, River Currents.   Then watch for more news on the launch of the button box story!
And if YOU have a special button that carries a memory, why not send it off to me with the story. It might end up in the book and in my button box! Email me at grm55@me.com for my address!














Thursday, March 14, 2013

New Blog Post

Read my latest guest blog post on http://reneeblare.blogspot.com/ kindly hosted by Renee Blare! And leave a comment if you like it!

Friday, March 8, 2013

New Blog Post on Survivor Speaks

Today I am a featured guest on Maria Dal Pra's website, "Survivors Speak" blog. What a pleasure to be so welcomed by this lovely  lady! The link is below! Have a great day!!


Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Blog Feature on Survivor Speaks

Through the kindness of a special woman named Maria, a blog I wrote, called When the Joy Returns, will be featured on Survivors Speak on Friday, March 8. Watch for the link on this blog!

Also, today, Run, River Currents is featured on:

and will be featured tonight on:

The Free Book Dude tonight at (6 p.m. PST)

So much to praise God for as this book goes to places I could never imagine!

One of the highlights of my summer will be visiting Plaster Rock, New Brunswick, Canada, the setting of Run, River Currents, where I have been asked to speak. Returning to what I consider "home" will be such a blessing. I'll be travelling with my (much, much) older sister and we'll will take the time to relive some of the best memories of our lives and visit friends and family we haven't seen in years. Watch for news as the time gets closer!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Free Kindle Download!

Just got the news that Run, River Cirrents will be available for a free Kindle download tomorrow, Tuesday, March 3 and Wednesday, March 4! Tell your friends! If they like it tell them to feel free to write an Amazon review! Have a good day!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

A Moment Alone

I’m sitting at my desk trying to write another piece to my upcoming novella. I don’t feel like writing. I feel like taking a walk. I feel like eating chocolate.  I feel like studying my Bible. I feel like pushing my feet into the sand of a beautiful beach. But there is so much to do! I have students waiting for test results and papers that need to be graded. I have phone calls to friends and family who I am constantly forgetting to call. There are meals to fix, a dog to feed, visitors to entertain, laundry to finish, beds to make, dished to do, a lawn to be mowed, groceries to be bought and a car that needs repair.

And then I realize, I only need to bow my head and settle into God’s loving arms for just a few moments. So, here at my desk, I stop everything and I pray. I thank God for the stories that will come, for the forgiveness He has given me, for His constant strength and companionship when I feel so alone. I praise Him for the sun that shines in my heart when the storms are outside my window and allow him to remind me that I can do all things through Him.

The realization then arrives that this moment is not about me. It’s not about my feelings, nor my good or bad day. It’s not about how life treats me. No, I realize, it’s about Him. It’s about the praise He deserves. It’s about what He has done. It’s about how loving He was when I rejected Him and how full of grace He was when I realized how unworthy I really am. The thought of His sacrifice cover me like a gentle sigh and I am lifted up once again.

And for a moment in my heart I cry, “Praise be to a Holy, Holy God!”


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Run, River Currents Featured!

I received some good news today! For the next week, Run, River Currents will be featured on Digital Book Today as a Great Read! It is always a humbling experience to have any book you write featured like this!

For those of you waiting for the next, (happier,) book from me, know that I am currently working on a novella titled, The Button Box. It's a story about the grandfather of the main character Emily, in Run, River Currents. The button box sat on top of an old oak hutch in her grandfather's home. Each button contained inside the box held a family story and is told from the eyes of  Emily's godly grandfather. The book is uplifting and filled with joy. Look forward to it by mid-spring!


Thursday, January 31, 2013

No Starbuck's for you!

This new world of not "going" to a job every day can be a bit unnerving. Time seems to fly by a little too quickly for my liking. For those of you that know me, I do have reassure you of something.

I do not miss flying one little bit.

For those of you who don't know me well, I have left a job I have held for almost the last ten years and moved on. No more waiting in lines at airports. No more cancelled flights. No more lonely nights. In fact, when a fellow employee called me to let me know they were stuck at the Rochester airport because of a delayed flight, I smiled. They went on to say that the company no longer allowed them to buy anything at Starbuck's either. I smiled again.

Don't get me wrong, my company was a fantastic company to work for. My boss, a gem. They gave traveling employees a decent food allowance, and $50 per trip to use for "extra" things on the trip. Yet, over the past few years the "extra" things were being whittled away. First, they stopped allowing us to buy any magazines, which seemed aimed directly at the women travelers, who, like me, bought Women's Day, Oprah, People or Ladies Home Journal as a way to occupy the many, many hours we spent alone. Later, it was found out that one of the non-employee travelers that joined us from time-to-time, a male, had purchased not-so-nice magazine, which ruined it for the rest of us. That's how these things work. Someone does something not to "the higher powers" liking and everyone is punished for it.

Well, truth is, its probably my fault that Starbuck's was taken away from my former fellow employees. You see, I'm a bit spoiled. I have a latte every morning at home, made with love and whipped cream. So, when I travelled, Starbucks was the first stop for me. Double tall, latte made with whole milk and whipped creme. Sometimes I had a Morning bun to go with it. Usually I'd buy a water to use throughout the balance of the day. Sometimes that morning bun and water became both breakfast and lunch if I were stuck at the airport for hours on end. Yup, it was probably my fault.

One thing these companies should take into account is the fact that talented, relationship builders have given up way too much of their lives professionally representing their companies to have a magazine or a cup of coffee taken from them.  Just because the boss doesn't drink Starbuck's, doesn't mean the travller shouldn't. The bosses don't spend over one-half of the year stuck on airplanes, in rental cars, at airports or hotels, looking for any small distraction that might chase away the loneliness of leaving everything they love behind. No, they are with their families, attending bithday parties, having anniversary dinners and living their lives.

 Yes, the employee could move on if they don't like the policy, as they are usually well paid for the job they do. But, I find it humourous that the company is one who usually brags to others about how much they "value" their employees. Come on! You give the employee $50 to spend for the "extras," and then tell them, "No Starbuck's for you!" That mindset is ludacrist. In reality, all this does is make the employee feel less than "valued."

In a world where finding and keeping proven relationship builders for the long-term health of the company is difficult, shouldn't these little "perks" be kept intact? Or am I just out-of-touch? One cup of Starbucks for each day you are gone from your home is a small price to pay for employee loyalty. But then again, is anyone loyal to anyone anymore?


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends!

I've had the pleasure lately to mentor a few new writers. In fact, since leaving work, God has put so many opportunities in front of me that it's almost unbelieveable.

Here's the latest for January...

I'm busy writing a novella, or shorter novel called The Button Box. I work on it a little each day and hope to have it completed very shortly, as I have promised my sweet little editor that I would:-)

I'm working on reviewing two new novels.

I'm judging a new fall contest.

I'm planning a trip back to New Brunswick to speak at the invitation of the Plaster Rock Library Board, which to me, will be a highlight!

I'm writing a monthly health column for Book Club/Book Fun.

I've entered a couple of writing contests.

I'm interviewing two authors for upcoming blogs.

Even though I'm not officially "working" anymore, (yes, I am looking,) I'm staying pretty busy.

*****So, stay tuned for more news to come, but in the meantime, you writers out there, send me a poem , a short story or an essay that has to do with an egg. Don't ask why, just do it. Keep stories and essays to 1-2 pages. Might be something special in it for you! Deadline will be February 10!!!


Thursday, January 10, 2013

Welcome Christian Author, Tanya Eavenson!

Hello Friends! I find doing interviews one of the best ways to not only learn about other authors, but to learn about what avenues God has put in our lives to get His Word out. Today I have the privilege to welcome author, Tanya Eavenson!

Hello Tanya and welcome to Novel Travelers. I've already told you that I love the name Tanya, as my youngest sister is blessed with that name! For our travelers, tell us where you are from and what makes it special to you?
I was born and raised in Florida. I remember when I would climb on the roof of the house to look at the stars, it would be close to the time the fireworks from Disney colored the night sky. That was years ago when Kissimmee was mostly pastures. I’d sit in awe. So what makes my hometown special? The memories.
Tell us a little about the book and how you came to write it.
Here’s a short rundown of the story for your readers.
 He will fight for her at any cost...Elizabeth Roberts can't remember her past, and the present is too painful. She turns to nightclubs and drinking to forget her infant daughter's death, her husband's affair.

When his wife's coma wiped out the memory of their marriage, Chris Roberts found comfort elsewhere. He can't erase his betrayal, but with God's help he’s determined to fight for Elizabeth at any cost. She wants to forget. He wants to save his marriage. Can they trust God with their future and find a love that’s unconditional?
As far as how I came to write it, I don’t know if I came up with the plot or if God had put it on my heart. Many families, churched or un-churched, find themselves struggling in their marriages for one reason or another, but God wants them to fight to save their marriages and families. I grew up in a family were divorce is common, like most people today, with the idea once you “fall” out of love, and you can’t get along  anymore, it’s time to get a divorce. It was almost engraved in me witnessing everyone in my family get divorced one time or many times. I, too, almost went down that route with divorce papers in hand. I told myself many things at the time, but the truth. I was focused on our failures, not the hope that with God, all things are possible. The question was, were we willing to save our marriage at all costs? Would we fight for each other, whether we felt like it or not? It is my hope through this story, that no matter the circumstances the reader is facing, a loss of a child, infidelity, abandonment, anger, emotional hurt, etc., they will know there is hope in Christ.   

I am a Master Cruise Counselor, a designation in the field of travel that required a five–year commitment to the travel industry and at least 40 cruise visits or cruises, so it was interesting to me that you have a cruise setting in your story. How did you go about doing research for the cruise setting of Unconditional?
My research mostly concentrated on gathering information for a cruise Elizabeth and Chris, my heroine and hero, took during the novel. I’ve never been on a cruise so I asked several friends about their experiences. I was grateful for them sharing their memories and pictures.
Friends are such blessing when they share their experiences! Then did your life experiences play a role in the characters and/or the situations you developed in your book?
I’d have to say that every character has a piece of me within them whether it’s something the character likes, a physical attribute, or even a journey of spiritual growth. There’s a scene in the novel were Elizabeth and Chris head out to the lake. Elizabeth tries to hold onto the dock, but is unable and the boat floats away. When I thought to add that scene, I could only laugh. It was the first time I’d ever tried to use a trolling motor. 
That’s funny! I guess we’ve all had some of those “don’t take pictures” moments that pop up in our writings, don’t we? Do you see parallels of your life in your writing or do you try to avoid using your own personal life as a source of inspiration?
Interesting question. I believe God allows us to go through things in our lives. Why? I don’t know. That’s for God to decide. But I know in my life, God has allowed me to experience hardships so I may help others, to be a witness, and to have a closer relationship with Him. So if God can use my life and my words for His glory, I should get out of His way and incorporate it within my stories.
That is so wise to know as a writer. Most new writers are trying to set up some kind of a structure to make daily writing a habit. Can you share some of your writing habits with us?
 Well, my writing habits haven’t changed much since I began to write. I write late at night while everyone is asleep. There’s nothing better than sitting at the laptop with coffee in hand and words waiting to spill onto the page.
And I’m just the opposite. I’m an early morning writer. I guess I just want to be sure I’m fresh when I start in. I was influenced having to get up very early for my previous job. So, who or what’s been an inspiration to you?
It wasn’t a person really, but several novels that spoke to me. It started with Author Lori Wick and her series, “The English Garden Series.” I loved the biblical aspects and how the characters felt like family. I read the “Twilight Series” because the youth in my Sunday school class came in week after week discussing the novels. While reading, I found a connection to the characters through their emotional journey. Then to top it off, I read Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. It had everything the other novels had combined within one. I remember praying that if I was going to write, I wanted to touch people and bring a better understanding of God through my characters.
Giving the glory to God is a sure way to be successful, not always monetarily, but in a way that is so satisfying to the reader and the writer. Describe the process you have when you write a book – with so many other responsibilities, does it tend to be something you work into your every day, or do you have to “set apart” time to write with open, undesignated blocks of time? 
As a writer, I heard time and time again that I needed to write every day to be successful. I used to beat myself up when I couldn’t meet that goal. It took two years fighting with this idea when I finally gave up. So I decided to do something different, I set a word count goal each week, and it’s worked. Some weeks I write 3,000 words and others 7,000 depending on what’s going on during the week. Flexibility is the key for my writing success. Oh, how I’d love to be outside and write, but with three children, it seems the only time is at night after they are in bed. 

I think all authors are searching for the utopia of situations for their writing, so I am sure you are not alone in adjusting their schedules to meet their daily demands. With anyone and everyone being able to publish a book in this digital age, how have social networking sites, even including email, etc. impacted your writing? Do you find the internet to be a helpful or harmful resource in research, advertising, reviewing, etc. your books? 
I enjoy doing research for my novels since I know I will never be able to go to the places I write about, or time period for that matter. I’d also have to say, if it wasn’t for email and ACFW, a Christian writers’ network I belong to, I wouldn’t be the writer that I am today. I’m very thankful, however, social media sites, if I’m not careful, take away from my writing time. I have to be disciplined to the point that if I have something that needs to get done, I avoid it.

It’s been a joy to have you visit us, Tanya! Is there anything else you’d like my readers to know about you or your writing, maybe a piece of advice you could offer new writers?
Thank you, Ginger. I’ve had such a great time being here. Let’s see, my piece of advice would be to never give up on yourself or God. Whatever God is directing you to do, step out in faith and go for it. You won’t regret it!
Thanks so much for sharing with us today, Tanya! I’ll be buying your book shortly! 
For my readers, take the time to visit Tanya at www.tanyaeavenson.com and comment on her interview, won’t you?

Tanya Eavenson and her husband have been in the ministry for fifteen years teaching youth, adults, and counseling. Tanya enjoys spending time with her husband, and their three children. Her favorite pastime is grabbing a cup of coffee and reading a good book. Tanya is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and writes for Christ to the World Ministries sharing the Gospel around the world. You can find her on Twitter at @Tan_eave and contact her at her website www.tanyaeavenson.com Want to learn more about writing? Stop by her blog http://guidedgirls.blogspot.com
Tanya Eavenson
Guided Girls~Writers blog
@Tan_eave ~Twitter
"Unconditional is a powerfully-gripping story of deep heartache laced with fears, yet even through the sorrow, Tanya Eavenson reminds us that nothing can separate us from God's love." ~ Alice J. Wisler, author of "Still Life in Shadows" and other novels

"Not your typical amnesia story, Unconditional tells a tale of loss, betrayal, and forgiveness. Eavenson drags her characters through the fire, then reveals God’s power through their broken lives. The writing is stellar; the emotion, raw and palpable; the cast, impeccably crafted. This author is one to be watched!"~ April W Gardner, award-winning author

"Unconditional explores the struggles that married couples sometimes experience, and the decisions they must make after going through difficult circumstances. A powerful story of hope and healing." ~ Laura V. Hilton, Healing Love (Whitaker House)

"Unconditional is a beautiful story of God's never-ending love. Throughout its pages, Tanya Eavenson evokes a myriad of emotions in her readers, from deep despair to heartfelt praise. The characters gripped my heart, showing me the reality of man's sin but also the depth of God's grace. Unconditional is a well-written, heart-stirring novel written by a talented new author." ~ Jennifer Slattery, Novel Reviews



Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Christian Authors Show

I had the pleasure of being interviewed for the upcoming radio program The Christian Author's Show. The interview will air on Tuesday, January 15!  The interview is posted under "Broadcast Schedule," which can be found by opening the link and scrolling down the page.

The show plays all day so I hope you'll have plenty of time to stop by and listen to the 15 minute interview!

God continues to open doors for me, and I pray that I'll be able to give him glory in all things! Thank you for the support and kind words I continue to hear from you all! Click on the link below to enjoy it!


Monday, January 7, 2013

A New Interview Coming!

I'm excited to let you know I'll be interviewing Christian author, Tanya Eavenson for an upcoming interview on Friday, January 11! Her new novel, Unconditional, will be released the day of our interview!

Tanya and her husband have been in the ministry for fifteen years teaching youth, adults, and counseling. She is a fellow member of American Christian Fiction Writers and writes for Christ to the World Ministries sharing the Gospel around the world.

There's no better way to start the New Year than to host a woman of God!

I hope you'll tell your friends about the interview and join me to welcome Tanya on Friday!